The news media is full of allegations which claims that the world need GM crops in order to produce enough food for a growing population, and that the conventional farmers should start using GM crops in order to produce more food per hectare, producing food with more nutrients and using less insecticides and herbicides. Are these allegations really true, or is it just empty words produced by the GMO industry and their followers?
Below are some insightful quotes from people and organizations without a tight connection with the GMO industry. Time to get all those myths about GM crops put where they belong.
"History has many records of crimes against humanity, which were also justified by dominant commercial interests and governments of the day... Today, patenting of life forms and the genetic engineering which it stimulates, is being justified on the grounds that it will benefit society... But in fact, by monopolising the 'raw' biological materials, the development of other options is deliberately blocked. Farmers therefore, become totally dependent on the corporations for seeds."
Hans Herren, Director General, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Kenya, winner of the World Food Prize 1995
"Biotechnology and GM crops are taking us down a dangerous road, creating the classic conditions for hunger, poverty and even famine. Ownership and control concentrated in too few hands and a food supply based on too few varieties of crops planted widely are the worst option for food security."
Christian Aid report, “Biotechnology and GMOs”
"It is argued that the Indian peasants in Chiapas, Mexico are backward, they produce only two tons of maize per hectare as against six on modern Mexican plantations.
But this is only part of the picture. The modern plantation produces six tons per hectare and that's it. But the Indian grows a mixed crop. Among his corn stalks, that also serve as support for climbing beans, he grows squash and pumpkins, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and all sorts of vegetables, fruit and medicinal herbs. From the same hectare he also feeds his cattle and chickens.
He easily produces more than 15 tons of food per hectare and all without commercial fertilisers or pesticides and no assistance from banks or governments or transnational corporations."
José A. Lutzenberger, former Minister of the Environment for Brazil
"Bangladeshi people do not need GM food. GM food means the destruction of farmers and letting the companies take over. We need to preserve a biodiversity-based food production without the application of poisonous chemicals. Bangladeshi farmers are rejecting the idea that GM food can meet the needs of hungry people. This is nonsense. GM can feed the GREED of the companies, not the NEED of the hungry people. People are hungry not because we are not able to produce, but because the food production base is being systematically destroyed by the interventions of the profit-seeking companies. They want to make business out of our hunger!"
Farida Akhtar, UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternatives), Bangladesh
"Greater concentration of ownership inherent in the new technologies, and laws drawn up to protect them, is set to repeat and worsen one of the great mistakes of the green revolution. More dependence and marginalisation loom for the poorest. The inability to contain genetic material once released into the environment means that even field trials of new crops are tantamount to uncontrolled, irreversible experiments and invasions of the global commons."
Christian Aid report, “Selling Suicide: farming, false promises and genetic engineering in developing countries”
"We strongly object that the image of the poor and hungry from our countries is being used by giant multinational corporations to push a technology that is neither safe, environmentally friendly nor economically beneficial to us. On the contrary, we think it will destroy the diversity, the local knowledge and the sustainable agricultural systems that our farmers have developed for millennia and that it will thus undermine our capacity to feed ourselves."
Delegates from 20 African countries to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN conference on Plant Genetic Resources, 1998
"I'm against the theory of the multinational corporations who say if you are against hunger you must be for GMO. That's wrong, there is plenty of natural, normal good food in the world to nourish the double of humanity. There is absolutely no justification to produce genetically modified food except the profit motive and the domination of the multinational corporations."
Jean Ziegler, UN human rights envoy and special investigator on the right to food, “U.N. food envoy questions safety of gene crops”, Reuters, 15 Oct 2002